DNA Overview: how Next Generation Sequencing is revolutionising Kennedy DNA testing!


My Y chromosome position 14,902,414 showing the G->A transition that marks M222!

14.9.17 Males of either Irish or Scottish origin bearing the surname Kennedy can help the study of the Kennedy surname by submitting, usually free of charge, a cheek swab from which their DNA can be extracted. This is needed to explore where the paper trail cannot take us, for example the relation between the highland and lowland Kennedys in Scotland or the gap between the Munster and Ulster branches in Ireland. I lead the way having tested with five different DNA testing organisations. Formerly using short tandem repeat tests from the Sorenson lab, more advanced ('SNP') testing is now being done either at YSEQ or FullGenomes, Inc., leading edge companies I am supporting. These tests leverage next-generation sequencing. Funding is usually available if a paper trail to Britain or Ireland exists. If you are considering testing with any organisation please contact me to discuss and get the latest industry advice - I've tested with them all, including FullGenomes (analysis completed November 21st 2013) and the chip upgrade called 'Chromo 2' at BritainsDNA! (latter results were reported November 11th 2013; this test has now been superceded by YSEQ SNP panels). The result of these last two tests can be seen in a vendor-neutral M222 group diagram. (updates are announced here). I have also produced some notes on how to analyse a raw Chromo2 results file and detect if you are M222+ as it is not immediately obvious. For those interested in further news of the December 2013 re-analysis of my data by YFull.com resulting in 9 further SNPs and a technical overview of my data from FullGenomes including all my new private Y chromosome variants, now generally known as the FGC5856 group read these notes. There is now a brief history of M222 to read too. Note that as of May 2016 the YSEQ M222 panel (last updated in Sep 2017 with 142 markers below M222!) is more advanced than the equivalent tests on Chromo2. The new LivingDNA test is NOT recommended as it has less Y markers on it than even Chromo2 from four years ago (!) never mind YSEQ.

31 May 2016 We now have an M222 group at YFull where data can be shared if you have had a sequencing test (FGC or BY). YFull maintain a tree built from sequencing data. I have also updated my sequencing report from last year with the latest research from the FGC4077 branch.

* The project does not primarily use the new autosomal 'Ancestry DNA' test heavily promoted by Ancestry.com or similar 'cousin-finding' tests sold by other companies such as 23andMe. Any STR testing will be done at YSEQ who also do the bulk of the SNP testing for the project. However since it is on sale in the UK and Ireland from January 2015 I have now taken the AncestryDNA test and uploaded results to GEDMatch.com (#A828783) and I'm happy to discuss any matches with others. Note that as of August 2017 23andMe have a fairly advanced set of Y SNPs on their autosomal chip, but they still fall short of what can be tested at YSEQ (edited 14 Sep 2017).

FGC4077 (M222 sub-branch) - all surnames

21.9.17 If you are interested in joining the FGC4077 research group you will need to produce evidence for a positive SNP result for FGC4077 or another SNP at or below that level in the R-M222 tree. If you are unsure how to go about this, or whether the testing you have done to date was appropriate, please ask via the Contact page. Currently (Sep 2017) the cheapest way to do the test is at the YSEQ lab who will test FGC4077 for USD18.

Kennedy DNA results

July 2014 Excitement is at fever pitch as the first detailed SNP comparison between Kennedys using next generation sequencing is now complete at Thomas Krahn's YSEQ lab! The results can be seen in the aforementioned M222 results chart.

A total of 110 DNA kits have now been returned. So far, several different groups have emerged although all are in an old large grouping associated with the Atlantic facade of Europe. This proves that both Irish and Scottish Kennedys are indigenous (at least in the era of surnames) to their traditional homelands. The Irish Kennedys match well with other names from the O'Brien group of families as would be expected and thus confirm the Kennedy history from the Irish genealogies and annals that places them in the family of Brian Boru. The Scottish Kennedys are demonstrably separate from the Irish, thus disproving certain old histories claiming that they came from Ireland. The big remaining puzzle is the relation between the lowland and highland Scottish Kennedys. Here the evidence is hard to interpret because of the mix of lines in the highlands, one major line of which is border-line related to the main lowland branch. It is to be hoped that with a few more highland and Aberdeenshire/Caithness Kennedy men doing the test, this picture should be clarified. Another group I am keen to explore further are Kennedys from the Irish 'midlands', by which I mean the areas between the separate genetic groups in Munster and Ulster. Anyone between Galway in the west and Leinster (excluding Dublin) in the east is of interest. Dublin Kennedys would need to provide proof of their rural origins elsewhere in the country. A number of new technologies and research initiatives have emerged onto the scene which will further aid us in ironing out the fine details - if you are interested in hearing the latest drop me a line.

For further information please contact the project.